Crystal Structure of Cucumene Synthase, a Terpenoid Cyclase That Generates a Linear Triquinane Sesquiterpene.
Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Biochemistry, Volume 57, Issue 44, p.6326-6335 (2018)
<p>Linear triquinanes are sesquiterpene natural products with hydrocarbon skeletons consisting of three fused five-membered rings. Importantly, several of these compounds exhibit useful anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties. However, linear triquinanes pose significant challenges to organic synthesis because of the structural and stereochemical complexity of their hydrocarbon skeletons. To illuminate nature's solution to the generation of linear triquinanes, we now describe the crystal structure of Streptomyces clavuligerus cucumene synthase. This sesquiterpene cyclase catalyzes the stereospecific cyclization of farnesyl diphosphate to form a linear triquinane product, (5 S,7 S,10 R,11 S)-cucumene. Specifically, we report the structure of the wild-type enzyme at 3.05 Å resolution and the structure of the T181N variant at 1.96 Å resolution, both in the open active site conformations without any bound ligands. The high-resolution structure of T181N cucumene synthase enables inspection of the active site contour, which adopts a three-dimensional shape complementary to a linear triquinane. Several aromatic residues outline the active site contour and are believed to facilitate cation-π interactions that would stabilize carbocation intermediates in catalysis. Thus, aromatic residues in the active site not only define the template for catalysis but also play a role in reducing activation barriers in the multistep cyclization cascade.</p>